The last few decades have brought many technological advancements that make our lives easier and enhance quality of life. This is especially true in the area of cataract surgery. Significant achievements in surgical and intraocular lens (IOL) technologies are improving outcomes and reducing recovery times.
Our grandparents used to put off cataract surgery until they could barely see. And it’s no wonder they did. Long periods of healing used to mean weeks (sometimes months) away from work and everyday activities. Happily, this is no longer our grandparents’ cataract surgery!
Innovations in cataract surgery are giving patients much to be thankful for. Here are just a few:
1. More precision means better outcomes
Although cataract surgery is (and has been) one of the most common surgeries available, advancements in surgical technology continue to improve patient outcomes. One such advancement, intraoperative wavefront aberrometry, is helping surgeons better program the correct lens power for the IOL that is replacing the eye’s cloudy natural lens. This device, which attaches to a microscope, precisely measures the total refractive error of the eye.
What does this mean for patients? Well, more precise measurements means the possibility of better outcomes after cataract surgery. It’s especially helpful for patients who previously had laser vision correction.
2. Advanced IOLs are reducing dependence on glasses or contact lenses
Beyond traditional monofocal IOLs (lenses that are designed to correct vision at one distance only), cataract patients now have more choices than ever before.
One of the newest IOL advancements are called extended depth of focus (EDOF) IOLs. This new technology improves a patient’s range of vision by correcting presbyopia (near vision loss as a natural result of aging) in addition to far and mid range. There are a few different EDOF lenses. They all have the same goal but employ different design approaches and technologies.
One such lens, the IC-8 lens, uses small aperture technology, much like that of a camera, to reduce a patient’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery. Read more about small aperture technology here.
3. New surgical techniques result in faster recovery times
As IOL technology advances, so do surgical techniques. Contemporary IOLs typically require smaller incision sizes that are self-healing (no more sutures). Today, cataract surgery is nearly always an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia. After surgery, most cataract patients can resume normal everyday activities relatively quickly. In fact, some patients can see well just a few days after surgery.
In addition to advanced IOLs, other innovative technologies are also improving surgical techniques. Tools like ultrasonic devices and lasers are bringing new levels of precision and reducing patient recovery times.
4. Cataract surgery may lead to safer driving
One of the most challenging effects of cataracts is difficulty driving, especially at night. Many people with cataracts experience glare and halos around oncoming headlights, making night driving difficult and potentially unsafe.
Researchers in Australia have discovered that near misses and crashes drop by as much as 48% after cataract surgery. Using a driving simulator, they were able to evaluate patients’ vision both before and after cataract surgery. Read more about their study here.
One thing is for certain: The freedom that comes with being able to drive after dark is something many cataract patients are thankful for.
Advances in cataract surgery technology have made the procedure easier than ever before. If you’ve been diagnosed with cataract and are considering cataract surgery, talk with your doctor about the IC-8 lens. Visit ic8lens.com to learn more about how the IC-8 lens is helping patients see from near to far after cataract surgery.